According to a recent research, the February orchid (Orychophragmus violaceus) can soon be used to produce natural elements for lubricants. The researchers have conducted the research at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science (IUPUI).
They revealed that the seed oil elements of this ornamental flower are beneficial for producing a new class of environment-friendly lubricants. The study was issued online in the Journal of Nature Plants.
The study states that the seed oil from February orchid holds a component produced in a way, unlike other fatty acids.
In a separate collaborative study, the researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Huazhong Agricultural University (HUA) in Wuhan, China discovered the plant’s biology and genetic makeup. However, the scientists noticed that the seed oil of February orchid was different from the usual plant’s seed oil that is used as energy assets for later development.
The HUA and UNL scholars then decided to ask Robert Minto. He is a bioorganic chemist from IUPUI who specializes in recognizing natural products and unknown mixtures.
Minto clarified that the finding of the collaborative research on February orchid’s seed oils was a blessed one. Since at least half of its seed oil is made up of exceptional fatty acid complexes that have never been recognized.
Minto worked with Alicen Teitgen, another investigator from IUPUI. They both conducted a study to investigate the major compound’s structure. However, the two had their work cut out for them due to the “plainness of a portion of the molecule.”
Strangely, this assisted the investigation squad to understand that February orchid’s plant’s seed oil was one-of-a-kind. The plant’s seed oil has a fatty acid or a long linear molecule. It is made when two-carbon components are added to the end of the molecule.
Every step in the elongation method needs a four-reaction cycle to add the carbon elements. Every reaction in the set of four is crucial for normal fatty acid production.
However, in February orchid, the researchers observed that one of the cycles was only partly completed. It leads to the making of the unique complexes.
Minto noted that this was the first time that any fatty acid biosynthesis included a partial cycle and afterward more cycles occurred.
He clarified that natural products (e.g., antibiotics) are prepared through a chemically related method that leaves out steps in almost nearly every cycle. On the other hand, some fatty acid biosynthetic pathways, where all the stages are finalized, happened.
However, there was nothing in between these two happenings, at least with the biosynthesis of the seed oil compound.
Minto suggests that these findings could serve as evidence to what chemically makes February orchid seed oil a better choice as an oil. Furthermore, the experts also added that February orchid’s seed oil had enhanced friction and wear reduction.
It can also resist advanced temperature stability. Oil performance analysis was done on steel surfaces at the University of North Texas.
According to Minto, you can use February orchid’s seed oil to produce a bio-renewable element for engine oils.
February orchid or Chinese violet cress is a yearly or biennial member of the mustard family. It is inherent to fields, forests, roadsides, garden areas, sunny slopes, hillsides, thickets, and valleys in central China. Note that February orchid is defined as a vegetable in China. Its stalks are usually reaped in the second year after it blooms. The plant’s flowers and leaves are also eatable. Moreover, they are often used in salads.
The respective study suggests that its seed oil can be used to give rise to eco-friendly lubricants. However, extensive research is still required regarding the subject.